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PS3 / PSP Game Review

Arcade Essentials Evolution


Format: PS3 / PSP
RRP: £3.99
Age Restrictions: 3+
Available 05 September 2011

The minis on the Playstation Network continue to expand, offering often simple and graphically unsophisticated games at pocket money prices.

Arcade Essentials Evolution from Nordcurrent is a collection of five games which will be familiar to any gamer over thirty. These were the mainstays of the dawn of computer gaming. Nordcurrent have brought them back for a whole new generation’s delectation. These are games from a time when game play was more important than clever graphics.

Designed to work on both the PS3 and the PSP it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the compromise of many minis is the graphics, which oddly enough is not a great problem for a set of games which emulate favourites from the eighties. Any greater level of graphics would destroy the retro feel.

So, what do you get for your small handful of Euro’s? The first game to play is Asteroids, this is not just a recoding of the original, as new bonus special abilities are on offer, but the look and feel of the game remains authentic.

Next up is Toader which, presumably for copyright reasons, has been changed from its original Frogger. The idea of this game is to get your frog (sorry, toad) across four roads and four floating platforms in order to park your toad safely at the top of the screen. To make matters worse you have to do this for four toads. Once again, as the levels increase so does the difficulty.

I vaguely remember something similar to the third game, wherein you have to shoot a worm-like creature as it makes its way down the screen. Each time you shoot it a bit turns into another brick which changes the direction of the worm. Various variations on this game have been released over the years and usually go under the name Centipede, Caterpillar etc.

The fourth game is a version of the brick shooting game which has turned up on every platform going. I would find it difficult not to believe that most gamers have a version of this tucked away somewhere. This one comes with fifty levels.

The last game in the pack is the most infuriating and one that annoyed me when it first appeared, many moons ago. Luna Lander has you guiding down a little moon lander. The problem here is that you have limited fuel, so you can use it to move in a particular direction, or to slow your decent, but you never seem to have enough fuel in the first place, a game for lovers of physics.

Each of the games start off simple, becoming infuriatingly more difficult, but then that's all part of the fun. For the few quid that this set of games will cost, it's worth a trip down memory lane.


Charles Packer